During the process of combining sports and study in America, people often talk about choosing the right university. In America, the range of universities on offer is so great that everyone can find a university that really suits them. Often this depends on the location and size of the university, the studies on offer, the scholarships offered and / or the level of the sports teams. Indeed, these are very important parts of the choice process that all affect what your life will be like as a student athlete in America. But one of the most important factors in your experience is not so much choosing the right university, but choosing the right coach.
Choosing the right coach is almost as important as choosing a relationship partner for four years. You train almost every day, so you always have to deal with your coach, even outside of your sport. A coach can be a determining factor in your college experience. You have so much to do with him or her that a good relationship is crucial for your optimal development and a good time.
Compare your sport with a school subject that you take six days a week. Even if you find the subject extremely interesting and you are good at it, an annoying teacher you don’t get along with can ruin your enjoyment of the subject and hinder your development. It works the same the other way around. If you hate a particular subject, but you have an inspiring and engaged teacher with whom you click, you like the subject more, you are willing to work harder, and you achieve goals you never thought you would could make it.
But how do you know in advance whether you will have a good click? There are a number of things you can do to make sure you make a good decision:
Visiting the university.
The best way to find out if the coach is a good match for you is, of course, to visit the university to experience him or her in person. In some cases, Slamstox organizes an “official recruiting trip together with interested coaches.” This is a visit to universities whose coaches want to recruit you. A visit like this ensures that you have a good idea of the university, the team and of course the coach! An official recruiting trip is almost always fully funded by the universities involved. Not everyone gets this great opportunity, unfortunately. If you are not invited to visit a university, it is still a good investment to pay for the trip yourself.
Use FaceTime or Skype, and not just once!
If a visit to the university is not possible, then extensive FaceTimen or Skype is the best alternative. Coaches are open to answer any questions you may have. It is also important for them to check whether you fit well in the team and whether you have a click. Slamstox helps you prepare for these conversations. There are a number of questions you can ask coaches to get a better picture of their coaching style and their team culture.
Contact some (old) team players
It occasionally happens that coaches give themselves and their university a lot of praise. Certainly in America, where showing off is normal, you have to pay attention to whether the truth is actually being spoken. That is why we always recommend that you contact at least one or two athletes from the team to hear their opinion. They are in the position that you will also be in, and they often give an honest opinion about the coach and university.
Of course we can also help you. We know many coaches personally and can use our experience to estimate whether or not a coach will be a good match for you. Of course it sometimes happens that we do not know the coach personally. In that case, your own feelings and that of your parents play a major role. We always have contact with that coach via FaceTime or Skype – often we can quickly see through our experiences whether or not the coach is making things look better than they really are.
Do you also want to go to the USA to combine study and sports? Reach out to us!